Monday, January 6, 2014

Mentorship 101

So I've been thinking about doing some one on one mentoring sessions this year. I get so many people asking me questions or sending super detailed long emails that I thought it would be more productive to put together a one on one session. Today is my first. Due to the weather and geographic difference, we are having our mentorship session online. This could take place in either a phone conversation, skype or an email.

In my sessions I am tailoring my answers to specific needs. Nowhere do I claim to know all of the answers, but I have made some very important mistakes that I feel I could share, as well as some triumphs. Unfortunately there is not enough time for me to offer all these years of information for free, but for a small cost, I would love to help you in your journey, whether you struggle with post processing, marketing, meetings, relationship building, social media, shooting etc.

Today's session involves me thinking about the following questions:

* Printing books and it profitable? Which printers do you trust?

* How do you advertise? What works and what hasn't?

* Why don't I hear back from clients when they request for pricing? How do you respond when they inquire about pricing?

* What do you say or give to potential new clients?

* How do you go about approaching being on a preferred vendors list?

* How do you network with local businesses?

* How does your contract protect you?

* Limitations and bonuses of registering your business

* Blogs to submit your work to?

* What sort of referral program do you use?

* How do you build your Facebook fan base?

* How often do you run promotions and how do you get it to bring in more business?

* Tips or tricks to "close the deal"

* Where to meet clients

* Editing workflow

* Shooting tips and tricks 

Because sharing is caring, I will share my tips on my experience for advertising:

Currently to date, I haven't paid for any advertising. When I went through for my business plan, my mentors told me my advertising plan sucked. I was really worried. But so far I would say 80% of my business has come from Facebook, referrals and recently I started using "key words" in my blog posts. I always ask people how they found me. Lately I've heard a bunch of people tell me, "I googled Costa Rica wedding photographer" for example and my name came up. So key words in the title of a blog post ( and links within also help.

I've also been very good at getting people to know who I am. I once read about Jasmine Star who used to follow everyone in online communities but that one day, she realized that nobody knew who she was. So I've been very good at giving back to vendors and scratching their me it's beneficial. I give every single vendor photos of them for free. If it's the DJ, I take a shot of him in action and send it. Who doesn't like a free photo of themselves doing what they do, right? Same with florists, planners etc. Yesterday at the Wedluxe show people were coming up to me...are you Wendy Alana? They also know me because I post photos of myself behind the scenes. To some this might seem vain but to me it's very strategic. I am very in your face online...and it's for a reason...not to be obnoxious...but so people remember me. I post sometimes hourly...On Facebook, on Instagram, wherever I can. Yesterday I took some photos of vendors doing their thing at the Wedluxe show, got home, tagged them on Instagram and then I noticed not only did they retweet it with a link back to me...but so did Wedluxe. This morning I had five inquiries from people who saw my photos from yesterday. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not doing this necessarily on a conscious level to make money or get referrals. I actually love being able to help people and to be able to give a gift to someone...the gift of photography. 

I also upload to my blog and then directly to Pinterest from my blog. So you can see the pattern right? BE VERY active on social media. Give back to your vendors. Get people to know who you are. Even on a personal level. I post things about my husband and I because it makes me relatable. I talk about my failures because it makes me human and likeable. The photography at this point is sometimes just a bonus when people already like me. Jasmine Star says that we live in an experience based society...people will pay if they feel they are happy within the experience. Part of me at the beginning overcompensated in so many ways...doing way more than I was paid to do...because I wasn't confident in my photos and you know what? Looking back the photos were great, but not perfect...but my clients were happy...they liked me, they remembered how we made them FEEL on their day and during the process and then they talked like MAD about it to everyone who listened.

Also, it's one thing to talk about yourselves. But what I do as soon as the client has seen their blog, is ask for a quick feedback for me to post on my website...have you seen the client feedback on my website? It's over the top happy! But that's because that's how they are feeling just after seeing their wedding photos for the very first time (which by the way, I usually aim to have the blog done by the next day....there is something so magical about just having experienced your day and then seeing the photos that quickly....I give them a questionnaire and on that is..what is your first dance song? I usually always include the song on the blog and again...this gets them to actually FEEL the blog instead of just looking at a few photos..this is also why lately I've been using video to include...if you've been a bride, you remember how it felt to see your's a feeling you can't explain. And that initial high goes away after time so if you ask someone for their feedback, it's usually less excitable after the wedding has come and gone months later. Also, I'm a writer. The feeling that I have so vividly after their day is only that vivid the next day. So I aim to get that blog post done instantly. 

So you see, I'm not really advertising per se, on a radio station or in flyers etc...I'm using specific methods to advertise...subliminal things that make people think: "Omg I have to have this photographer"....but it's not done intentionally...none of this has been. I actually had to sit down and think about how I have somehow built a business out of literally nothing, and I realized...because there's no sharky sales pitch in me...I hustle and have heart. And I just apply that to my business. And somehow here I am, doing my thing, making people happy and making a living along the way.

If you'd like to learn more about things like this, please contact me for a mentorship session.



And a list of preferred vendors I am working with this year....

No comments:

Post a Comment